Chandigarh, Apr 11 UNI | 3 months ago

Punjab Chief Electoral Officer V K Singh today asked the heads/representatives of regional news channels to play an impartial role in ensuring equal coverage without any bias towards any political party or candidate in ongoing general elections to Lok Sabha-2014.

Presiding over a meeting with leading regional news channels' representatives, the CEO said the recent phenomenon of 'Paid News' was assuming alarming proportion as a serious electoral malpractice and it has been a cause of concern for ECI in the context of conduct of free and fair elections.

He said that the ECI has categorically directed to halt such malpractice which puts undue influence on the free will of voters, encourages the role of money power in a covert manner and disturbs level playing field in elections. The practice of paid news is adopted to circumvent those provisions of RP Act 1951 which prescribe accounting and ceiling of election expenses.

He said that in case of suspected paid news, the MCMC on receiving a complaint or suo moth may issue notice to the concerned party/candidate and ask the channel concerned to explain its position.

After verifying, the facts/evidence could declare such news a paid news thereby adding the advertisement expenditure in account of or the political party concerned as the case may be. The person aggrieved by the decision of state MCMC can file appeal before ECI, within in 48 hours, he added.

Seeking full cooperation from regional news channels for conduct of smooth elections, the CEO asked them to play a proactive role in strengthening the democracy by ensuring transparent and balanced news coverage also encouraging that more people not only for come for voting but also for ethical voting.

The meeting was attended by Mr Raminder Singh and Mr B Purushartha, both Additional CEOs, Mr Amit Talwar, Joint CEO, Mr Rabindra Narayan, President, PTC, Mr Vishal Angrish (Zee News), Mr Naval Kapoor (Fastway News, Chandigarh) and Mr H S Nagpal (TV 24).

(Posted on 11-04-2014)